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  • VAUGHT: Keion Brooks brings the fight every day

    By LARRY VAUGHT

    If he can get healthy, sophomore Keion Brooks could be extremely important to Kentucky success this year.

    Assistant coach Joel Justus says even though Brooks only has one year of experience, he puts him in the same category as senior transfers Olivier Sarr and Davion Mintz when it comes to leadership.

    “He has been in big games. He has been in practices. He has been at Kentucky for a year and seen the big stage and bright lights,” said Justus. “Nothing this year should faze him on or off the floor.”

    If he’s healthy — and he’s been slowed a big part of the preseason by an injury — Brooks should be a player, according to Justus, who can “bring the fight to practice every day” even when the season starts to be a grind.

    “That’s what PJ (Washington) and Immanuel (Quickley) did in year two. They brought that fight every day. They didn’t just show up like some freshmen do just to make it through practice,” Justus said.

    “I am not being critical of his first year because sometimes you are just trying to survive and that is why what we do here is difficult. It’s why not many freshmen have significant roles on a good team.

    “But he’s going to be in better shape, stronger and more confident in what he can do this year. I think all those things set him up for a hell of a year.”